Riverfront Park’s Phase 2 underway

By Brenda Sullivan - ReminderNews
Glastonbury - posted Tue., Nov. 26, 2013
Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Director Ray Purtell gave an overview and update on Phase 2 development of the Riverfront Park, at the Riverfront Community Center on Nov. 22. The project, including a two-story boathouse and public boat launch, is expected to be completed by the end of August 2014. Photos by Brenda Sullivan.
Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Director Ray Purtell gave an overview and update on Phase 2 development of the Riverfront Park, at the Riverfront Community Center on Nov. 22. The project, including a two-story boathouse and public boat launch, is expected to be completed by the end of August 2014. Photos by Brenda Sullivan.

Visitors to the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center are by now familiar with the cranes and trucks and the rising brick structure next door that represents Phase 2 development at Riverfront Park. On Nov. 22, Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Director Ray Purtell gave an overview and update on the project at the community center.

Work is well underway, Purtell said. Concrete was being poured for a new public boat launch "as we speak," and the contractors are working hard to complete the exterior of the new, two-story boathouse so that interior work can continue through the winter months, he said.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of August 2014, he said.

Responding to questions, Purtell explained that town residents who buy a daily or seasonal pass will be able to put their boats in the Connecticut River from the new launch. Boaters from other towns also will be able to use the launch, but at twice the fee, he said.

However, boaters traveling on the river from other towns will not be allowed to dock at the park. "This is not going to be a marina," he said.

He also noted that the project includes a separate, protected area with calmer waters for putting in canoes and kayaks.

And a new ramp will accommodate the Glastonbury High School crew teams’ shells (boats), he said.  The teams also will have equipment storage space in the lower level of the boathouse, as well as meeting space and room for exercise equipment to keep in shape when weather prohibits practicing on the river.

Town residents who own rowing shells also will be able to use the ramp and for a fee, can rent storage space, he said.

The town’s fire department will have a permanent docking location for its rescue boat, and equipment storage space, as well, he said.
Also on the lower level will be public restrooms with running water open daily for anyone visiting the park.

The upper level will house the banquet facility – accessed by an elevator and stairwell – and a caterer’s kitchen. The dining area has been designed "with lots of windows with a beautiful, expansive view of the river," said Purtell.

And there will be an outside deck with seating for enjoying those views – including glimpses of migrating birds using the Connecticut River corridor. "Some of the construction crew have told me they’ve seen eagles," Purtell said.

Asked if the building, because it sits by the Connecticut River, will be safe during extreme weather, Purtell said it was designed to withstand what’s referred to as a "100-year flood" event, and plans were thoroughly reviewed by local, state and federal agencies to make sure it would be safe.

Responding to a question about whether the banquet hall will have a fireplace, Purtell said no, but it will include heat and air-conditioning so it can be used year round.

Other features of the park will include a children’s playscape, a depressed area on the site that will be flooded in the winter for ice skating and an overflow parking area for days when there are functions at the boathouse.

A walkway on the north side will lead to a gazebo for picnicking. The Glastonbury Rotary Club has taken on this part of the project, Purtell said, and recently began advertising the sale of personalized, inscribed bricks that will circle the pavilion to help fund its construction.

Purtell also held up a donor catalog he said was produced in response to inquiries about other ways to support the park that includes playground equipment, commemorative benches, trees, boat and oar racks, banquet hall furniture, kitchen equipment and other items available for donor support. For more information about making donations, contact Purtell at 860-652-7687 or ray.purtell@glastonbury-ct.org.


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